By LACEY JARRELL
An investigation is continuing into the deaths of 30 to 40 sheep that were found in a Turner, Ore., pasture Sunday, June 30.
"At this point we don't know what killed the sheep, and I wouldn't even speculate if there are going to be charges," said Don Thomson, a Marion County Sheriff's Office public information officer.
Two Marion County sheriff's deputies found the sheep in responding to a smell complaint. In the 80-acre pasture where the carcasses lay, 200 live sheep grazed and a large container that dispenses a liquid mixture of protein-based soy supplement mixed with water and molasses was observed, according to a sheriff's press release.
Officers spoke with the caretaker, David Etzel II, who oversees the Etzel Farm where the sheep were found. Etzel told the deputies that he lives in a nearby farmhouse and cares for the animals for his grandfather, according to the press release. He said he had checked on the sheep recently and had not observed the sheep that had recently died. He made immediate arrangements for the removal of the dead sheep.
Many of the deceased sheep were full grown and had full wool coats, Thomson said. The day of the discovery, the temperature was in the 90s and may have played a role in the deaths, he said.